Can blockchain improve my sex life?
March 1, 2019 3:12 PM   Subscribe

When conversing about contemporary technologies during dates - especially the initial dates in a relationship - which technologies are "better" to talk about and discuss in conversation (and why)? Or, conversely, which technologies are probably best avoided as they may be problematic, be difficult to discuss in a casual or interesting manner, or not give a good impression to the person you are dating?
posted by Wordshore to Human Relations (36 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The best technology to talk about is the one she's interested in and, ideally, can tell you about rather than the other way around. It'd make you a real standout.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:26 PM on March 1, 2019 [45 favorites]

(Assuming you're dating women, of course. I have no advice for dating men.)
posted by restless_nomad at 3:29 PM on March 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you want a really good date, leave your phone at home.
posted by parmanparman at 3:29 PM on March 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Honestly, if I went on a date and the guy wanted to talk about technology, he probably wouldn't get a second date. I would really only bring it up, if the person has signalled genuine interest in it. Talking about technology sounds like work, and it's also rife with a gatekeeping/dudebro culture.

That said, Boston Mechanics robots and animals with Roombas are at least humorous.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:30 PM on March 1, 2019 [58 favorites]

My blockchain did not improve my sex life in any way.
posted by bondcliff at 3:39 PM on March 1, 2019 [54 favorites]

I suppose social media is an area where a lot of people have interesting experiences to share. Having said that, you're flipping Wordshore. If you can't woo someone on the basis of some of the wonderful stories you've shared on MetaFilter, what hope is there for the rest of us?
posted by pipeski at 3:42 PM on March 1, 2019 [13 favorites]

Unfortunately, stating that one likes technology means one has a high chance of being lectured to about technology if one is a female-presenting person. Assuming that that will not be happening, I would point out that a lot of technolgy tends to be both used and experienced individually, which isn't an amazing basis for conversation. Therefore, I would look at instances of shared technology: gaming systems; apps; IOT instances; cinematic special effects maybe?
posted by DarlingBri at 3:45 PM on March 1, 2019 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I study technology for a living, so I love talking about it on dates. Talking about Elon Musk is a really useful litmus test for me. I have decided to stop seeing more than one person because they were into Elon Musk, said they thought he was a visionary genius, and had no concerns about colonizing planets or any of the social implications or impacts of the things that he promotes. That really worried me and indicated that my date and I had very different epistemological stances. I'm a mid-30s woman and this happened when I was dating men in my age group.

I think it's very useful in general to talk about social issues on dates, because it gives you a really good idea about someone's character and worldview. So talking about the social impact of technologies, no matter what the technologies are, can be a very interesting and illuminating date topic.
posted by sockermom at 3:47 PM on March 1, 2019 [63 favorites]

Wordshore just tell the cheese story

You can even talk about surveillance.

Or talk about cakes. Cake technology is probably a winner. I'm not even kidding - you can always talk about either high tech cakes like those mirror ones or global dispersal of cake information.

I guess my advice would be that there's a difference between "let's talk about blockchain" and "we're talking about a mutually enjoyable topic and we discuss how [aspect of technology] affects it".
posted by Frowner at 4:02 PM on March 1, 2019 [27 favorites]

Best answer: the only important rule for talking about tech on a date is never ever ever ever ever put down your date's tech preferences

but PBO I have this hilarious Android roast that never fails to get a laugh

use it at your own peril, strawman I made up!

but yeah, when the convo isn't otherwise flowing, it's easy to talk about your choice of device as opposed to theirs, what you like about the newest model's features, etc. just as long as it's talking positively about cool things and not being negative, even if they're trying to browse the web on a Kyocera from 2013. my, what a lovely phone, your tastes are intriguingly distinctive

an exception: feel free to dunk on the blockchain without mercy; if your date takes offense they are probably a replicant and you have saved yourself some trouble

anyway here's my list of Tech Topics For Suave Daters

* how did you choose your particular suite of streaming services
* what's the deal with off-brand chargers, have you ever had one stop working literally before you left the Target parking lot? lol me too
* what's the most hilariously dumb way you've lost or broken a phone
* place a "for funsies" bet on whether Elon Musk will perish in a Hughesian fashion in a palace on Mars or if we will have to defeat him and his mecha-suit on Earth first; if the relationship lasts it will be a Special Moment when you get to see the resolution of this bet
* play a game while you're waiting for your food to arrive. both of you tweet at @jack and whoever gets permabanned from twitter first wins both the game and at life
* give your advice, as a man, on how to get more women into STEM haha no don't do this I'm joking please don't do this
* do you play any terrible, money-sucking f2p mobile games? I have gotten shockingly high mileage out of showing these off in a self-deprecating way
* however if you both play Pokémon Go well then you are off to the races my friend

I would not suggest talking about...

* surveillance, freedom of information, WikiLeaks, etc. these are important topics. 90% of all conversations about them are absolutely dire. don't roll the dice
* deleting your facebooks together. save this for the six month anniversary
* how life was better before everybody had their damn nose in their phones all the time. we all know this, we all realize these things are liquefying our brains, but for so many people this is just the obligatory preamble to ranting about immigration and rap music so just don't even go there
* cybernetic enhancements. an opportunity for a ribald anatomical joke will inevitably present itself and you may not be able to resist plucking that low-hanging fruit but it WILL be the dumb thing you can't stop beating yourself up about once the date is over
* how well you can make 90s modem noises with your mouth (unless you are really good at this, like you've been on TV for making modem sounds good)

good luck, cyberdater! bleep bloop EOF
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:25 PM on March 1, 2019 [99 favorites]

I'm a leftist who is against surveillance, critical of algorithm bias, and have very strong opinions about Elon Musk, and also used to dabble in blockchain and have gone to a few obfuscated talks on it. I would be terribly amused if I got into an argument about it for my first date but I would rather know if someone shares my political understandings or not immediately.
posted by yueliang at 4:30 PM on March 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

Go full Meta and talk about the definition of technology. (But, I implore you, ONLY do this if you‘re taking out a philosopher!)

As an aside, nothing will make you seem as desperate and lonely as recounting to your date the long conversation you had with your Alexa that morning.
posted by The Toad at 4:38 PM on March 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding revealing what dumb phone game you're obsessed with right now.

The best gift my now-husband ever gave me was early in our relationship when he realized I loved to play Threes but had the version where you had to watch ads sometimes. I forget exactly how he managed to gift me the ad-free version (maybe you can do this in the app store? I forget), but he did, and I still play Threes constantly all these years later. I wanted this to be heartwarming, but I worry that it's the 2019 version of that story from Best In Show about flipping through the J. Crew catalog together.
posted by the milkman, the paper boy at 5:01 PM on March 1, 2019 [22 favorites]

I enjoy talking about contemporary technologies on dates, among many other things! The key is how the conversation flows and how my conversation partner treats me. Assume your dates know a lot and have their own strong opinion unless they say otherwise so treat them like the smart, tech savvy women they are! And if they don't, treat them with equal respect and resist the urge to explain/mansplain stuff to them, whether on technology or any other topic. There's a way to teach people about new topics that is both engaging and respectful. I'm not sure quite how it's done in terms of specifics but I can definitely tell the difference right away as can most people of all genders. I check in a lot to see if people are interested or just being polite based on verbal replies and body language.

My advice:

- Talk about whatever you want on dates! Find common ground, bond over mutual interests, relish in the differences, and agree to disagree if it's fun for you both.

- Be yourself: the great thing about 2019 is that being a nerd is cool, and there are as many nerdy girls as there are guys (and non-binary folks, etc. etc.) these days! You want to find someone who's a good match but most people just aren't, regardless of their knowledge about and views on blockchain hehe.

- Yes, you want a second date but, moreover, you want your date to feel you're a good human being even if you're not a romantic match! Most importantly, because human decency is essential and, additionally, because maybe they have a friend who'd be a great match and they'll set you up.

Clearly, you have a lot of interests and will find plenty of things to connect over. If they know about MetaFilter, bonus points; if they don't and seem cool, invite them to join. And if they're already a member? Jackpot!
posted by smorgasbord at 5:07 PM on March 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

I would love to talk about technology! But since I am old, only as relates to the technology of my era. Like dialing a node and putting the telephone into a suction cup. Or giant 5 inch floppy disks.

I'm curious as to why you would even want to talk about technology on a date. Is it a smart-ness barometer? I would think knowledge of Shakespeare or Sophocles or even how to make Victoria sponge would be a better topic of conversation. For instance, I've had bad beaus who thought reading books was a bad thing.

My current husband is well read, he knows a lot about classical music, and we can get along that way. He knows who James Joyce is. My ex's probably didn't. They didn't know who Chopin was, or why I loved Clair de Lune, or who Homer is, or the Greek gods vs. the Roman gods, and who Sophocles was, or who Euripides was, or why they even mattered. They had never read The Frogs or Lysistrata and they didn't even care to know about them.

I'd want to know someone who is well read in poetry, who can quote Tennyson or Yeats. Technology can be learned, but the classics is something born of passion, of lifelong reading and exploring of knowledge, a foundation, and I am not even classically trained, but I'd rather have that over modern technology, frankly.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:17 PM on March 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

Well, I don’t know, I have definitely discussed blockchain and surveillance and VR and self-driving cars with first dates (as well as religion and exes and politics, too). I think the most important thing is how the two of you interact while talking about whatever it is. If eyes glaze over, move on. If they ask questions, keep going for a while. As long as there’s laughter and lightheartedness, I think anything can be on the table for a first date. Now granted, I’m a nerdish woman, and often date a lot of nerdish men, so YMMV.
posted by umwhat at 6:36 PM on March 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Last year on a first date, a guy brought up blockchain and various cryptocurrency. Even though I have a pretty negative opinion of those things in general, I'd have enjoyed a reasonable sharing-of-ideas conversation about it--even if we ended up being of complete opposite opinions on it. Instead, though, he talked AT me about it. Every time I tried to interject with my own thoughts, he spoke his over me. It is the only date I have ever obviously walked out on by looking at my clearly watch-less wrist and declaring it was time for me to get home.

So when it comes to talking about technology on dates... don't do that!

It also of course depends on your own interests and values. Many of my friends would run if someone brought up communication encryption software, or machine learning, or Linux during a date, but I'd love it. But also, people sometimes try to impress me with their startup that I think is doing something morally distasteful, or their experience at Facebook or Uber or something, and... that just does not work out well for them with me. With other people, it might!

In general, I think the only rule of thumb is this: if they bring some form of tech up, take it as an opening to learn more. Don't dunk on it, and don't immediately assume that because they buy into something you don't like that it means they are bad (most of the time, anyway). Ask questions! You may learn you like how they think about the world even if they are a staunch Windows user, or that their admiration for Elon Musk is a dealbreaker for you.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:44 PM on March 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

I recommend not discussing any technology. There are two most-likely sorts of such conversation: one is ghastly and overbearing (see examples above), the other is at best intellectually stimulating but a bit too dry and impersonal for a getting-to-know-one-another topic in dating conversation.

If later on you become collaborators or co-researchers on some obscure technical interest you have in common, happy coincidence.
posted by ead at 6:56 PM on March 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

It seems to me if I were out with a guy of an unknown level of competence, and I mentioned a tech subject, I'd pay a lot of attention to how he fielded it. Is he interested in non-personal topics? Or is he going to embark on mansplaining a subject to me that I just indicated an interest in? Because I mentioned shopping for a new phone, is he going to take it as an invitation to tell me his entire history of phone ownership or embark on a laboriously detailed comparison of Apple and Samsung models? Or will it spark an entertaining anecdote about phones that leaves us both laughing?

It's not the topic, it's the spin you put on it. And everyone uses tech these days, it's like talking about food. We all need it.
posted by zadcat at 7:21 PM on March 1, 2019 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I'd want to know someone who is well read in poetry, who can quote Tennyson or Yeats.

While I know you’re being sincere, this also is an odd topic to bring up, to the point where I’m imagining a painful Tinder date with a guy in a fedora “casually” reading a book on 19th poetry at a bar.

Just bring up stupid, popular things like did you see the Oscars? What was your favorite movie? Then based on the reponse keep asking more questions. People like to talk about themselves, maybe themselves includes an obscure cryptocurrency, but coming out of the gate with that is like saying “Have you seen the performance on crosswind landings for the new Boeing Dreamliner?!”
posted by geoff. at 7:24 PM on March 1, 2019 [13 favorites]

Why do you want to do this? It’s not snark, I’m really asking. It’s hard to answer this question without understanding your goal. I like hearing about other people’s genuine interests, mostly, so if you have a genuine technological interest that seems to be the one to talk about. I’d be nonplussed by someone who seemed to think they needed to talk about technology not from specific interest but to signal ?something? about themselves to me. (I would utterly fail at someone who wanted to talk about the Oscars, because I am a pod person.)
posted by eirias at 7:36 PM on March 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: As a single person on the dating scene and someone who works in tech, please don't talk about blockchain or cryptocurrency on a date unless you work in that space, and even then, I don't want to hear about it. I would much rather hear you make 90s modem noises with your mouth.

Honestly, I don't need to be impressed with techno jargon. I'd rather hear you talk about what sparks joy for you.
posted by msladygrey at 8:03 PM on March 1, 2019 [18 favorites]

I genuinely believe Bondcliff’s blockchain has the potential to be great first date small talk.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:02 PM on March 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have a short list of things that are on the Deadly To Conversation list, (taken from real conversations) and "the best smartphone out now" is second only to "ATM fees and how to avoid them," so just a heads up on that.
posted by salvia at 11:58 PM on March 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

I think self driving cars could be a good one —- especially as a topic that has social implications and I think is generally understood by people.

Blockchain is bad because (IMO and on twitter at least), it has a reputation of being an issue where men try to explain it to women. Knowing about this, i once tweeted about a ridiculous moden love column about blockchain and ended with “don’t explain blockchain to me” and a dude immediately showed up to explain it to me. People are just very pedantic about blockchain.

I would also suggest that because of the world we live in, people have VERY different experiences with technology. For example, I once cried when my husband suggested installing a camera on our porch because it reminded me of being harassed repeatedly by a guy with a camera at college. It’s like any topic —- you don’t know what it’s going to bring up for someone. So just try to be present, ask questions, and listen. I don’t think there’s a magic topic in conversation. What makes anconversation magic is a partner who listens and adapts their tone and pace. (Both parties have to do this!)
posted by CMcG at 3:34 AM on March 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

There are very few topics that would not work on literally any date; my friends have joked that I'm just looking for someone who wants to talk about "drugs and dying" because those are literally my professional interests (and I love to discuss them over drinks!). If your goal is to meet someone who complements you, not just endear yourself to the maximum number of generic people, speak kindly and respectfully about things you care about, and seek to learn the same things about the other person.
posted by telegraph at 3:56 AM on March 2, 2019 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you for the answers.

The date occurred. Conversation flowed, and technology was brought up in a roundabout way (how subtle or easy it is to block annoying co-workers or line managers across various social media, without causing problems in the workplace). We picked up a few tips from each other.

This led, in a Meta way, into a conversation about discussing technology on dates, and we went through the answers on this thread (she had brought her tablet, which is a good size for two people to read the same web page at a candlelit table). Much amusement and discussion, and she was impressed by the 'emotional intelligence' of the MetaFilter/AskMeFi community ("Put the same question on other sites and it would generate a flood of 'Tell her all the great things Musk has done' responses").

This led to having a look at Bondcliff's blockchain and started a further discussion over that. But the place was locking up and she suggested we continue it at her place, which we did and [redacted as this is a family website and a gentleman never tells] it is now Saturday lunchtime and I am so very tired and dehydrated and have written off the weekend for the kind of reasons you are glad to write off the weekend and I am attempting to make a pot of tea for two in an unfamiliar kitchen as I type this and wondering about the etiquette of whether to use the best cups and saucers I've just found or the most makeshift mugs but i am too tired to do another AskMe and i just want a cup of tea and the kettle has just boiled anyway right toodle pip

tl;dr Bondcliff's blockchain improved my sex life.
posted by Wordshore at 5:08 AM on March 2, 2019 [92 favorites]

giant 5 inch floppy disks

posted by flabdablet at 5:23 AM on March 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

OMG this is certainly the most live TMI ever, as for adding advice, do NOT ask about tea cup preferences until AFTER the third or fourth date. Totally LOL!
posted by sammyo at 5:46 AM on March 2, 2019 [8 favorites]

tl;dr Bondcliff's blockchain improved my sex life.
posted by Wordshore at 6:08 AM on March 2

Whelp, I feel like I’ve unlocked a profoundly, profoundly weird Metafilter achievement.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:12 AM on March 2, 2019 [8 favorites]

Imagine how I feel.
posted by bondcliff at 7:37 AM on March 2, 2019 [44 favorites]

Best answer: I, for one, am quite chuffed that my hatred for Elon Musk contributed to a positive date outcome for someone, because it sure hasn’t done me any favors yet in that department.
posted by sockermom at 7:40 AM on March 2, 2019 [24 favorites]

Today is a special day.
posted by bondcliff at 8:42 AM on March 2, 2019 [14 favorites]

Best answer: Begin As You Mean To Proceed. Do you want spend a date or be in a relationship with someone who has no interest in, curiosity about, or opinions about technology, including blockchain? I suspect you would rather spend time with someone who had some interests at least somewhat contiguous to your own. Look for someone who is interested and interesting, just as you are interested and interesting, and hold out for someone smart, funny, kind, or whatever your top attributes are.

I'm happy to hear you had a nice cup of tea. She may read so, we all think you are a lucky woman.
posted by theora55 at 8:52 AM on March 2, 2019 [8 favorites]

Your date sounds absolutely dreamy, and I'm so happy for you both! I know you said a gentleman never tells but pray tell us those workplace social media tips!
posted by smorgasbord at 11:04 AM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

My opinion: don't use the fancy teacups at HER house, but definitely use them at your house if you have them!
posted by exceptinsects at 10:29 AM on March 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

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